Be the Change.

JUNE 3, 2012 10:21AM

For Sam

Today is graduation day for my youngest son, Sam, so last night I ironed his gown.   Last time I wrote about ironing a gown, it was about my oldest son graduating--and the metaphor I used was how ironing that gown was like ironing out the wrinkles in our lives together.  That… Read full post »

MAY 17, 2012 3:18PM

The Master Teacher

I am cleaning out my desk today.  It is an annual event, and usually I do it the day that I think I can not possibly spend one more day with the seniors.  It gives me something to do so I don’t scream at them for blowing off yet another assignment.… Read full post »

APRIL 20, 2012 11:25PM

Shakespeare knew it. So should we.

We started Romeo and Juliet a couple of weeks ago in my freshmen English class.  Needless to say, teaching the play is daunting. (Think about your experience with The Bard when you were fourteen. Mine involved sitting behind mullet-sporting Tom Larson and listening to chain-smoker Mrs. Thompson… Read full post »

Oil and Water Do Mix

a pantoum for you


Of all the dabs of oil

I saw that sunny day,

the one with the stormy sea and Poseidon

turned my mind's eye inward.


I saw that sunny day

painting sure to take the breath away,

and turned my… Read full post »

JANUARY 15, 2012 10:48AM

A Day in my Labyrinth

I am in the midst of a labyrinth right now in my teaching life.  And not the good kind of labyrinth where one walks slowly and carefully so as to center oneself.  No, I am in the middle of the Classical labyrinth, replete with the darkness, the twisting paths, and the… Read full post »

We have always been a game-playing family. When I was young, it was Yatzee with my grandma as she patiently waited for me to count up the dots on each die.  As I got older, it was Monopoly with my brother and Chutes and Ladders with my younger sister. Of course,… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 1, 2011 8:22AM

Dress has not always been my strongest suit

  I buried my sister yesterday.  And I have spent days mulling over the words I need to say here and the words I want to say here about her.  There is nothing that I can add to the conversation about death, or spirituality, the meaning of life, or "what cancer… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 24, 2011 8:41AM

Sonnet for Renee

The hardest words to say to you today

are not the ones I've whispered in your ear.

The words "I love you"--easily I say.

I say them often for your heart to hear.

The hardest words are not profound, not deep;

they are the ones I need when not my… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 11, 2011 6:45PM

Sonnet 11 (Still for me)


Sonnet 11

Today I jumped--and never stopped to know

the depth, the chill, the  murky silt within.

But if obscure, it's much too late, and so

I just enjoy the jump inside my skin.

Afraid of water have I been before;

I've stood upon the edge… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 9, 2011 8:04AM

Sonnet 10 (for me)

 Sonnet #10

 I wonder if I'm turning down that road

I promised I wouldn't walk--ever again.

I think I trust the man and what he showed

to be the truth, won't cause me further pain.

My intuition tells me that it's right,

but yet, there're signs that make me wonder… Read full post »

AUGUST 20, 2011 5:59PM

Hope really is a thing with feathers


Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the… Read full post »

JUNE 14, 2011 4:28PM

I Run (and swim and bike) for Life

This week started out as a bit of a failure.  I was attempting my first triathlon.  The sun was rising above the lake in Madison, Wisconsin, I had two of my best friends with me, and I was going to be able to drink good beer after the race.  My goal,… Read full post »

MAY 15, 2011 2:05PM

7.5 Reasons to see Bridesmaids

I saw the film, Bridesmaids, with two of my colleagues this last Friday.  (I'm an English teacher, and I went with a math teacher and a librarian. Girls Gone Wild, we aren't.)  

After thinking about it for a couple of days, I decided that there are, in fact, 7.5 reasons… Read full post »

Common sense is not my strong suit, and over the years I have begun to accept it as an endearing part of my personality, albeit rather embarrassing at times.  I was 42 before I realized that the moon actually gave off no light (yeah, I know. duh.) And I still don't… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 27, 2011 3:39PM

"This will go in my permanent file."

I am a high school English teacher in a central Wisconsin town.  I have been in my position for the last 20 years; in fact, I celebrated my 20 years of service last year during a banquet with my colleagues, both from my high school and other people from our district,… Read full post »

JANUARY 9, 2011 1:58PM

Let there be.

Yesterday, on a beautiful midwestern winter day, I was snowshoeing.  the sun, the glistening snow and the soundtrack to Mamma Mia playing on my MP3 player.  It was a great morning and I was thankful for the day and for my good health, making it possible for me to get out… Read full post »

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I wonder quite often about my job, in the true sense of the word "wonder."

 I'm a teacher and I think a pretty typical one at that.  After 22 years,  I still am able to recognize the good in my students and the good parts of my teaching.  I still… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 11, 2010 11:27AM

Homage to Honest Abe

At the risk of sounding a bit like a creeper, as my students would say, I had them write a poem last week as a response to a poem written about Abraham Lincoln.  (they think I'm a bit obsessed with the man). My response poem, mimicking the style of the poet,… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 17, 2009 12:59PM

The courage to teach

Courage in teaching is a tough one to define. . . I think about Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln, and Atticus Finch. . .three of my best teachers.  And then I think about me.  I’m no Lincoln or King, although I do have one up on Atticus.  At least/… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 7, 2009 6:57PM


School started last week.  And already I might be getting myself in a spot of trouble.  Or not.  I teach a senior-level Oral Communications class (that's speech class, for the "older" folks. . .think sweaty palms and stuttering syllables) and I planned on using President Obama's speech… Read full post »

JUNE 23, 2009 10:24AM

note to self

"Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting… Read full post »

Tomorrow, the Wisconsin Supreme Court will rule on a case that could make my school e-mail communication subject to the state's open records laws.  The court will decide if the public can review the e-mail of Wisconsin's public employees, including its public school teachers. 

 Whoa.&n… Read full post »

JUNE 17, 2009 2:42PM

Letting go

I suppose it's interesting that my first blog post is the day I need to put my 9-year old chocolate lab, Xena, down.  I'm sure there's a metaphor in here somewhere, but right now it's quite literal.  I am going to let my dog go.  She's been sick, and it's what's best… Read full post »